The Monitor editorial “Coming clean on corruption’s links to pollution” was, to me, a reminder that much of what’s harmful to the world doesn’t just come out of the blue. It’s directly related to the need for a stronger moral foundation. The editorial states that “an arrogant dishonesty lies at the root of much of the world’s environmental problems,...” and it points to some key instances in which there’s been an admission of wrongdoing. Yet the connection between an unrighteous state of thought and a harmful outcome may not always be obvious – or even considered. The result is that nations, businesses, and individuals don’t always identify or face squarely the underlying cause of negative conditions.
A small childhood experience might help illustrate. When I was in junior high school, my grades took a tumble, and I just wasn’t seeing why. Then one day the obvious dawned on me: My studying was superficial at best. Laziness was a factor, but so was a kind of dishonesty. I felt that I could cut corners and still get positive results. I began studying faithfully, and things turned around nicely.
Of course, not all of our own or the world’s problems specifically relate to character flaws or moral issues. But think of the difference it would make if honesty, for example – even in the smallest matters – was more prevalent! Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, makes this thought-provoking statement in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “Honesty is spiritual power. Dishonesty is human weakness, which forfeits divine help” (p. 453). Imagine if the loving power of the one God – the source of all good – was more consistently expressed everywhere. What a blessing for the world!
But how can people best overcome dishonesty or any other moral weakness? A spiritually sound way to stop wrong behavior, despite its deceptive lure, is to recognize that any phase of immorality is abnormal and detrimental because it isn’t a part of God’s nature as the entirely good creator of the universe – or of man’s real being as God’s spiritual, wholly good expression. This truth of God and man was central to Christ Jesus’ healing works. The Master showed in practical terms what an understanding of perfect creator and creation can do for humanity. Healing of disease and sin is taking place today on that same basis through prayer, as a lengthy record of Christian Science healing can attest. Jesus also provided indispensable moral and spiritual guidance that brings our thoughts and lives into accord with our true nature. This guidance appears, for instance, in the Beatitudes (see Matthew 5:2-12) and in the golden rule: “As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31).
Following the Master’s teachings is a natural result of glimpsing, from a spiritual standpoint, what existence really is. Mrs. Eddy writes: “All real being represents God, and is in Him. In this Science of being, man can no more relapse or collapse from perfection, than his divine Principle, or Father, can fall out of Himself into something below infinitude. Man’s real ego, or selfhood, is goodness” (“No and Yes,” p. 26).
Because our real selfhood is only good, every thought or action unlike good must, ultimately, give way to the authority of God, divine Principle. It’s encouraging whenever we see even small steps in that direction.